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VHP Recognized by Global Water 2020 as a Health Leader and Trailblazer

Global Water 2020 is a three-year advocacy and facilitation initiative designed to accelerate progress toward water access and security for all people in developing countries. The first global baseline assessment of WASH in healthcare facilities was released by the World Health Organization and UNICEF in 2019. Data was gathered from 560,000 healthcare facilities in 125 low- and middle-income countries and the findings were devastating: 2 billion people must rely on healthcare facilities that lack basic water services 1.5 billion people must rely on healthcare facilities without sanitation facilities 45% of healthcare facilities in Least Developed Countries lack basic water services… Read More »VHP Recognized by Global Water 2020 as a Health Leader and Trailblazer

Health Care Facilities Are Everyone’s Frontline

COVID-19’s multiple frontlines now include at least 46 countries across the African continent. Many, including Ethiopia, have frontline health care facilities battling without one of the most critical tools: adequate water and sanitation. In an email as truth-telling as it is disturbing, my colleague and friend, Shimeta, ordered his employees to work from home by the time his country was reporting 19 cases (the count is now ~44): “Medical facilities and structures are very weak to handle such pandemic diseases. In Africa and especially in Ethiopia, the death toll will be unheard of up until now. One of the small… Read More »Health Care Facilities Are Everyone’s Frontline

Bachuma Hospital Well Update

Back in 2016, VHP – along with our amazing partners – completed an assessment of 14 health facilities in rural Ethiopia. The findings were eye-opening. All facilities lacked year-round access to clean water, most facilities had stick and mud latrines,  most instruments lacked proper sterilization, all facilities lacked working hand washing stations, and many lacked critical medical supplies. These health facilities became deadly for patients and providers alike. We could no longer ignore the connection between WASH and maternal health. Access to clean water and sanitation is absolutely essential to providing safe healthcare. These findings led to the creation of… Read More »Bachuma Hospital Well Update

Help Us Build a Well at Bachuma Hospital

The Bachuma hospital’s construction was completed roughly three years ago, however, it has yet to open due to an inadequate water supply. Due to this shortage, the hospital is unable to provide comprehensive care to the surrounding communities. VHP is committed to raising funds to construct a well and assisting in the installation. Challenge The Bachuma hospital, located in the Bench Maji Zone in South Western Ethiopia, serves Bachuma, the surrounding communities, and local villages. Its construction was completed roughly three years ago, however, it has yet to open due to an inadequate water supply. While complete services cannot be… Read More »Help Us Build a Well at Bachuma Hospital

We Run a Large Hospital Without Water

Our hospital in southwest Ethiopia serves an area of 2.5 million people —from farming villages and tribal areas to refugees from South Sudan. Health care activities here are below standard by any measure and we face what sometimes feel like insurmountable challenges to curb these problems. But the single biggest challenge of all is water. In our hospital, because we only have clean tap water available approximately twice per week when water is trucked in, we must supplement with river water, which we know is unclean. But a hospital needs water daily and for many purposes: not only drinking but… Read More »We Run a Large Hospital Without Water

Improving Lives as a Way of Life

I found myself in the back of a Land Rover with two civil engineers in the middle of rural Ethiopia. To say life sometimes really hits unexpectedly is an understatement. But it’s the most apt description of the lives of Mike and Gerard. At age 31, Mike Paddock was diagnosed with stage 4 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It had spread to his bone marrow and he was given three to six months to live. “It was harder on my family than [on] me,” he told me two decades later. Finding himself quite unexpectedly in full remission, he and his wife, Cathy, plotted… Read More »Improving Lives as a Way of Life

Family planning is crucial for those in the developing world

A darling, petite young woman with a beautiful smile on the outside, Mecca’s reality is a daily onslaught of pain and shame due to a completely preventable injury of pregnancy, afflicting a million women and resulting in untold stillbirths. I was in Ethiopia with a project focused on the appalling absence of Water/Sanitation/Hygiene (WASH) in health-care facilities. It’s a global health scandal impacting hundreds of thousands of clinics and hospitals around the world. But I hadn’t anticipated meeting Mecca. Mecca has been pregnant 10 times. She has seven surviving children. She is only 30 years old. We hiked through farmlands to… Read More »Family planning is crucial for those in the developing world

$500 That Traveled the World

As Published on nbcnews.com $500. It was a small donation that has saved scores of starving women and children, and another chapter in my unexpected story: a family determined to do good in a troubled world, and an imam willing to open his heart. My dad had been a missionary and engineer with the Presbyterian Church in an Ethiopian village so remote, it was not on Google maps until two years ago. My strongest memory is from third grade when a woman arrived at the rural health clinic where he volunteered. She’d been in labor for 4-5 days and her… Read More »$500 That Traveled the World

What I’ve Learned as a Doctor in Ethiopia

I found myself in a packed labor and delivery ward. When a woman gave birth to an unexpected twin who was not breathing, we had no choice. With virtually no protective gear, two nurses I’d brought with me jumped in and saved the baby. We had no way to clean up, because this massive, overcrowded hospital in Ethiopia hadn’t had water in six weeks. We left covered with blood. The operating room, as well as the labor and delivery room, were cleaned with a single cup of water from one of the containers that had to be trucked in. We… Read More »What I’ve Learned as a Doctor in Ethiopia